Monday, April 8, 2013

Go! St. Louis Half Marathon, Done!

Beautiful am in the STL
Aaaannnnd, it's over.

Today was hands down the HARDEST race I've ever run. Both physically and mentally, I was exhausted. 
I feel like it was uphill almost the whole way (even if it wasn't). But when you look at the elevation map, it is pretty exhausting. They called miles 6-8 "Holy Hill" and it was a race-within-a-race, with it's own separate time. However, I still feel like mile 2.5-4 was all hill and so was 10-11 and a few little ones from 11.5-13!! 
I KNOW I start off too fast and lose steam, so I was trying to rein it in. But I always get so caught up in the excitement and the people that I just go with the flow. Even if the "flow" is 9:28 min/mile! Oops. I felt really good from miles 1-4, but started slowing, as you can see, around mile 5.  Obviously "Holy Hill" was a slow time for me, but miles 9-12 were just bbboooorrrriinnng. No spectators, no music, no FUN!

Another issue? I bob and weave. I remembered (after the race) that I did it last time. I remember being frustrated around mile 8 that my RunKeeper was telling me I was hitting mile markers about .25 miles ahead of time. And again, by about mile 8 it was FRUSTRATING how far ahead it was! I finally tore my headphones out of my ears and swore I would get out of my own head for awhile. 
Mile 5. Awesome view of downtown
Then there was just silence. The Rock'n'Roll half last October had entertainment and tons of spectators. There wasn't a mile without something to pay attention to, but this one? Silent. Lots of focused runners, which is GOOD but not motivating whatsoever!

As you can see, the splits were weird. I am used to a 5K and 10K split, but I guess since they did the "Holy Hill" race within the race, they did miles 6 and 11 instead.  My Holy Hill time (so 2 miles) was 21:58, so I was slowing down a TON on that stretch. My 11 mile time wasn't terrible, if I had any steam left at all to keep going. 

I was literally staring at the finish line - walking. I could SEE it down the road and I still couldn't bring myself to sprint, at times even to run.  

You see, I put SO MUCH pressure on myself to PR in this race. Not just PR but knock 10-15 minutes off of my time! With the amount I have been (or haven't been, as it were) running, that was ridiculous to think in the first place. But I kept thinking "I said it on my blog, I have to PR!"   Then a spectator helped me out....

I wore one of my favorite running shirts. It says "I RUN FOR  ME" As I was rounding mile 9, a spectator yelled "I LOVE YOUR SHIRT!"  And I remembered. I run for ME. I RUN for ME. I don't run to impress my kids or my husband.  I don't run for you guys (no offense).  I don't run for money or fame or notoriety. I run for ME. For my health and for my sanity. For the thrill and for the relaxation (sometimes!)

So the pressure? It was from me. The stress? From me. Who would I be letting down if I didn't PR? Myself.   Part of me, at that realization, let go. I didn't need to kill myself to finish the race. I didn't need to push to impress anyone. Looking back, I get a little sad that it was so easy to let myself down, but it is was it is now, right? 

The 2:15 pace runner was passing me at mile 11. Mile 11!! Actually closer to 11.5 because I crossed the 12 mile mark with him. He was yelling at anyone walking "YOU CAN DO ANYTHING FOR 1 MILE!" But I just couldn't even push myself that last mile.  He saw me after I finished and came over and said "What a strong finish!" but I didn't notice because I also had two medics rushing me asking if I was ok... Guess I didn't look so fresh after my 13.1 ;-) 

I walked through and got a TON of food (I always accept everything because I know I have two small scavengers that will eat anything I let them!), hobbled as far as I could before sitting on the curb and waiting for my family to find me. I snapped this picture just so I had some proof I survived. With my bling. I do love me some bling! And yes, that is a cookie ice cream sandwich. food.EVER. 
So, yes. I made it. I finished.

I did PR, only by 3 minutes. My official time was 2:21:01. My RnR time from October was 2:24:06. Since I "gave up" around mile 9, I was surprised to PR at all. Even though I did, it still feels like an epic failure. Overall just a depressing run. I almost walked off the course around mile 8, I actually had a few thoughts that this was my last half, that I am just not made for this mileage. 

But I won't give up. Mostly because I RUN FOR ME.  So why not continue and keep bettering myself? 

Besides, this was only #5 in #13in2013!!  I have a long road to go this year! :-)

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